Thursday, February 25, 2010

Feathers, Asian bugs, and fevers

There are bugs, and then there are BUGS…

I received a package of hackle the other day, among other fur and tinsel type stuff, from a reputable mail-order materials company. I sat down to tie some salmon and steelhead classics, and lo and behold, I needed the very color of hackle that I had just received. I opened the package, ran my fingers through and noted the excellent quality of the feathers, and began to tie flies.

Flash forward to the next evening.
An itch in my throat quickly turned into a cough. The cough in turn turned into a full-blown old-fashioned fifteen-round full-monty Midwest late-winter cold; the kind of cold that I have not experienced since childhood; the kind of cold and fever that finds one sitting on the bed attempting to read a passage by James Joyce and drooling on the page.

Oh Good.

Well, since I needed my rest, what activity, other than sleep, is so relaxing and sublime as fly-tying? My addled and Nyquil saturated brain sat down at the vise for an hour or two and turned out the most incredible array of fouled-up rejects I have yet produced. I forgot whole steps. Wings were mounted to my nose, I sneezed on the teal feathers, scattering them all over. I dropped spools of tinsel and floss, rolled around on the floor trying to corral them, and ended up covered head to toe with fur and feather clippings.

Then, while reaching for that wonderful new Chinese rooster hackle dyed just the right color, I read (or hallucinated) a small label attached near the bottom of the plastic zip-lock bag. It read “New and improved! Now with 20% less Asian bird-flu germs.”

“Aha!” I thought, as I wrapped a piece of popcorn on the hook, and chewed on some soft-hackle.
Makes sense now.

1 comment:

trout chaser said...

My condolences. Getting that sick really sucks. Actually, the best part about running a fever is all the cool colors you get to see... I'm just setting down to tie up some Skwala (squala?) dries for a trip in March. Now you've got me wondering what's gonna happen with all this elk hair. (the mind boggles) Oh wait, I shot this one my self. No Asian flu, just the North Idaho Winter Madness. (do not ask...)--AJ